Kevin Ward Jr. was remembered as a “small-town boy” who loved his sport during Thursday’s funeral for the 20-year-old dirt-track racer whose car was hit by one driven by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.
More than 700 mourners jammed the South Lewis Senior High School auditorium for the 90-minute service, a mix of tears and cheerful recollections of someone who began racing at a young age.
“Even if he had rough day, he always had a smile,” a tearful Dylan Swiernick said of his best friend and car-obsessed buddy. “We were just two small-town boys trying to make it in the big world. He was always working on something. It was unbelievable how smart he was.”
After the service, as Ward’s casket was taken to the hearse for the short trip to the cemetery, mourners let loose helium balloons in orange, white and black, his racing colours. (Photos: Mike Groll/The Associated Press, Rich Barnes/Getty Images)